The reason you need to do this is to give your hardwood flooring space to expand and contract with changes in temperature and humidity. If you fail to leave an expansion gap your flooring will have no space to expand and can easily become damaged.
The direction you choose to lay your wooden flooring is entirely up to you. It might be worth thinking about how you want the room to look though. Most people lay their floor lengthways according to the path of light coming from a window or door. This helps to highlight the natural beauty of you flooring as the light falls on the grain pattern.
It`s important to keep in mind that wood floors are natural and will be affected by the environment. While there`s no need to panic if you see some gaps develop between boards during dry seasons, if the wood doesn`t shrink back into place during humid seasons — July through August, then you should bring in a certified wood flooring professional to assess the separation.
The choice of flooring is one of the most basic yet important decisions a homeowner has to make when undertaking a renovation, as it underpins everything else. While there are plenty of different options, from carpet to terrazzo, one material is the acknowledged standard: hardwood.
Traditionally, hardwood flooring came in thick planks of solid timber. Today, solid hardwood is still widely available, but many companies also offer engineered flooring—planks made with a thinner top layer of hardwood, bonded to other layers designed to prevent the floor from shifting during expansion and contraction cycles. All wood moves in three directions: There`s tangential, radial, and longitudinal movement.